Mild sigh of relief.
The sigh is mild both because the concern for a problem was never particularly high, and the worst case scenario was not especially grim, but a sigh is a sigh, especially when it involves the Chicago Cubs’ most irreplaceable player.
Jake Arrieta threw 46 pitches on the side yesterday after he was pulled from his last Cactus League start in the first inning, struggling badly with command due to a thumb blister. After that throwing session, Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio proclaimed the Cubs’ ace good to go for Opening Day, one week from today (Cubs.com, ESPN, CSN). Maddon even went so far as to say that it was like the blister thing never even happened.
I don’t need to see Arrieta dominate for six innings tomorrow to feel totally and completely comforted. Just 60 pitches, or whatever, where he more or less looks comfortably like himself, and completely healthy. Then, I won’t even have the tiniest bit of worry that, when the big lights turn on next week, he’ll be Jake Arrieta. He’s that kind of guy.
Even still, assuming health through tomorrow’s outing, you will probably see Arrieta on something of a pitch count on Opening Day, not only because of the blister thing, and not only because he’s not as stretched out as other pitchers (potentially), but also because it was always the plan to limit the Cubs’ starting pitchers in the early going, if you’ll recall.After Arrieta, the rotation will go as we’ve been expecting for some time: Jon Lester will take that second game against the Angels, and then John Lackey, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks will face the Diamondbacks, in that order. If the rotation holds from there, Lester will start his second straight home opener for the Cubs on Monday, April 11 against the Reds.
Are you getting pumped for the season? I definitely am. And as for Opening Day (well, night, actually, since the game is at 9pm CT), unless a different catastrophe strikes in the next seven days, Jake Arrieta will get the ball in Anaheim when the Cubs open their 2016 campaign.
That means it’s time to get nervous, Mr. Trout: